How To Cheat Paleo and Still Get Ripped

Ok, I have a confession to make.

I cheat.

I cheat alot.

In fact, my cheating has helped me get stronger, leaner and overall healthier.

So what am I talking about?

I’m referring to cheating on my Paleo diet of course.

For the last 5 months or so, I’ve been strongly invested into the Paleo eating philosophy.

I’ve always been eating closer to a Paleo way of eating but I never went straight up Paleo like I have done for the last 5 months or so.  Maybe a few times on the weekend would I throw in a few bits of non-Paleo foods, but other than that, it was strict Paleo.

But, strict Paleo eating can be tough! It can also possibly hinder your progress.  Or so I think…

What I had found was that I was starting to feel more lethargic and weak during my workouts.  With the lack of complex carbs coming from all different of grains and starchy vegetables,  I wasn’t being properly fueled.

Now, what I’m about to go over with you is how you can apply Paleo eating into your lifestyle and still get away with “normal” eating.  I’ve been successfully doing it for the last few weeks and I’ve been feeling like a straight up badass!

My strength is back, my endurance has improved, and I’m still lean and mean…

Now, before I get into how you can cheat and get away with it, lets go over some the basics of Paleo Eating, A.K.A Caveman Eating…

The basics – You can eat all of this:

LOTS of Animal proteins – meat, fish, shellfish, eggs, poultry

• Fruits

• Vegetables

• Nuts & seeds

• Mushrooms

BUT, It means saying NO to:

• Grains – YES even “WHOLE Grains w/ added fiber = still bad!


• Beans/Legumes – High amounts of starch…


• and anything else that’s highly processed that includes flour, grain, ect…

That’s your basic STRICT Paleo Diet.

Now, you may be asking, “how can I cheat the system“?  Not everyone is going to be able to stick to the strict Paleo lifestyle.  It’s tough.

So, the best way to cheat the system, is to throw in your complex carbs at specific times, which I’m going to reveal to you on how to do just that below.  If you do this, you’ll reap the benefits from Paleo eating and be able to fit in the foods you can’t stand to live without.

So, here’s the guidelines:

  • Stay STRICT Paleo on your OFF Days (non-active days / non workout days)
  • Use the “Cheat” Paleo on your ON Days (highly active / intense workout days)

So, for your non-active days, you’ve got to stick to your STRICT Paleo eating ways. So this means no grains or starchy carbs.  Eat lean and clean on these days!

For your highly intense and active days, you’ll be able to throw in some complex carbs.  But we want to make sure to add them in at the right times.

Before I let you in on when to take these carbs in, let’s go over a list quick list of acceptable carbs.

  • Ezekial 4:9 Bread
  • Organic Sweet Potatoes / Yams
  • Organic Quinoa
  • Organic Brown Rice

These are all great sources of complex carbs that will help build up some serious muscle and aid in recovery. They’re really not that valuable to your body other than for immediate energy.

For that reason, your best times to take in your complex carbs would be right in the AM when you wake up and post workout. Every other time of the day would be off limits.

You can have a little bit of freedom but not much!

Now, here’s a sample day for IF you’re cheating and on an ACTIVE day.


1 Serving –  Athletic Greens (to cover all my bases)

Quick Option – Protein Shake OR

Lean Protein Source

Non Starchy Veggies Source

Starchy Carb Choice (oatmeal, quinoa, Ezekial bread BEST choices)

Fruit Source (berries, apple, banana)

Mid Morning Snack:

Lean Protein Source

Fruit Source (Apple, Berries)


Lean Protein Source (turkey, chicken, salmon)

Non Starchy Carb (Bowl of Lettuce, Spinach, ect)

Starchy Carb Source (Ezekial Bread, sweet potato)

Mid Afternoon Snack:

Lean protein Source


Fat Source (Nuts, seeds)


Lean Protein Source (Lean Meat Choice)

Non Starchy Carb Choice

For Immediately Post Workout:

Protein Shake

And now, here’s a sample STRICT Paleo Day (non active)


1 Serving –  Athletic Greens (to cover all my bases)

Protein Shake OR

Lean Protein Sources (Whole eggs + either steak, pork, chicken, ect)

Healthy Fat Choice (oils, avocado, nuts, seeds)

Fruit (berries, apple, ect)

Mid Morning Snack:

Lean Protein Source (slices of turkey, low sodium beef jerky)

Fat Source (Nuts, Seeds)

Non Starchy Carb Source


Lean Protein Source (turkey, chicken, fish, lean steak)

Non Starchy Carb (Bowl of Lettuce, Spinach, mixed greens, ect)

Fat Source (avocado, nuts, seeds)

Mid Afternoon Snack:

Lean protein Source (Protein Shake, lean meat choice)


Fat Source (Nuts, seeds)


Lean Protein Source (Lean Meat Choice)

Non Starchy Carb Choice

Fat Source

So, there’s a few different sample meal plans.  One for cheating and the other for staying DISCIPLINE.

What it comes down to in the end is being discipline and being able to stick to a plan.

If you want it bad enough, you’ll make it happen.  Feel free to manipulate these sample meal templates as you like.  Just use the food lists from above to help build your meals according to your day.

If you’re  wanting more unique ideas and recipes, How about over 370 plus ideas for Paleo Recipes???

Check out The Paleo Recipe Book ================>  the paleo recipe book


Leave your comments / questions below if ya got any!

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  • PITS

    I have been vegan (paleo without meat or dairy) for the last 8 months and have had great results. Put on 8lbs. and working out Hybrid style.

  • John Cintron


    This is very valuable information thanks for giving these tips out.


    • forgedstrength

      John – Thanks bro No problem!

  • Edward


    I would agree that a STRICT Paleo Diet is difficult to thrive off of if you train heavy and with high intensity 3+ days a week. However, sweet potatoes (most tubers) are absolutely Paleo friendly (maybe there are some Paleo zealots who would argue that point, but I respectfully disagree with them). Now, keep in mind, I consider myself a “hard-gainer”, but I eat 4-8 medium sized sweet potatoes every week, typically post workout. Since starting to do this, I’ve been noticing significantly improved recovery.

    Thriving on a Paleo diet, while training like a beast, is about consume enough calories, and consuming them at the right times. I hit my carbs hard after my workouts, but I’m pretty sporadic with them for the rest of the day. I eat protein all throughout the day. There’s not a bad time for protein. Fats I eat pretty liberally throughout the day, but cut them back after my workouts.

    The real deal with the grains is that regardless of how they fuel you for a workout, they’re still probably reeking havoc inside your body. The real purpose (for most Paleo advocate) is not about better body composition, it is about a healthier body on the inside. The improved body composition is just an additional perk.

    As far as I’m concerned Travis, you’re not wrong (nor is anyone else wrong) for eating grains. We all have to make our own choices, prioritize what’s most important, and live lives that we can enjoy. Some people just can’t eat a Paleo diet and not be miserable for the things they have to give up.


    Great post! Man, if it works for you then its worth trying, we’ll let you know our results.

  • Tubbz

    This way of eating is exciting. Clean and purposeful. Thanks T. It’s hard to find people to join this league and let go of their bad habits. That’s ok. I’ll go at it lone wolf styles. Then when they see how jacked and heathy I’m getting they’ll wish they lived the no excuse lifstyle. I did your survey and asked for more info on feeding the body for optimal performance so THANKS for hooking us up T!


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  • Jose Torres

    what would you suggest on weight loss? same advice on those carbs, or much different advice for those trying to lose weight?

    • forgedstrength


      You can’t go wrong with eating Paleo foods. Just cut back on your overall calorie intake, TRAIN HARD and see how the weight comes off.

  • Gary

    Hey Travis-
    You know, I’m sure you covered this diet with me, but I probably had a brain fart and, after a while, I just plain forgot it. Thanks man. I will print this diet, so I can refer to it hard copy style. Like I said, my diet’s not bad, but it needs tweaking. All good info–it makes so much sense, but then again, you are a no nonsense type of of guy, and that’s what I like about you.

  • Colby Pitre

    I have just started using strongman training. I am wanting to cut fat and was wondering if I should cut calories or would following the paleo diet at maintenance or surplus and strongman traing help me cut fat?